Day 2 of Toyota Trucks All-Star Week looked a lot like Day 1 when Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla., and Ott DeFoe of Knoxville, Tenn., jumped out to big leads while the rest of the field struggled on Lake Shelbyville.
The goal of each of the 12 All-Stars was to finish the first two rounds in the Top 4 and advance to the Evan Williams Bourbon All-Star Championship on Lake Decatur. Evers and DeFoe held onto the top spots easily with 23 pounds, 1 ounce, and 22-15, respectively. Aaron Martens stayed in third with a two-day total of 10-13, and Gerald Swindle rounded out the Top 4 with 10-6.
DeFoe and Evers have been here before. In 2011 at the inaugural All-Star competition, they finished first and second, respectively. In the championship rounds, the anglers will be seeded and paired in a match fishing format. Evers, the No. 1 seed will be fishing against Swindle, the No. 4 seed. DeFoe (No. 2) will be up against Martens (No. 3).
The winners of those two matches will advance to the finals on Sunday where the champion will earn a $60,000 payday. With Evers and DeFoe in different brackets, the stage is set for a rematch.
Evers was the only angler in the field to catch a five bass limit on each of the first two days. He fished two patterns - one shallow and one offshore - for his catch.
"I caught four of the 10 bass I weighed on an XCalibur Xr50 One Knocker lipless crankbait (chrome with a blue back)," Evers said. "I was targeting isolated stumps in the middle of flat, shallow pockets - 1 1/2 to 4 feet deep. The bass were suspended and eating shad, and they wanted the bait moving fast."
Evers’ other pattern involved a 5-inch green pumpkin Yum Dinger fished on a Yum Pumpkin Ed standup jighead and a Booyah Finesse Jig. He fished the Dinger around isolated rockpiles and caught two of his best bass with the bait. He used the Finesse Jig around isolated stumps.vDeFoe caught almost all of his bass fishing shallow with a flat-sided, square-bill crankbait of his own design. He calls the bait "Butch," and he fished it around laydowns and stumps for most of his catch. He caught one keeper largemouth on a spinnerbait.
"I fished Butch in pearl white and chartreuse with a black back," DeFoe said. "I was casting it with a Revo Premier baitcasting reel and 7-foot medium-heavy rod on 15-pound-test Trilene 100% fluorocarbon line. It dives about 2 feet and has really done well for me. It’s definitely a bait I’ll be throwing in the next round on Lake Decatur."
Martens was third after the first day with 7-7; he held on to finish in the same spot, though he managed only 3-6 on Day 2. Swindle made the biggest move of any angler in the tournament. After the first round, he was mired in eighth place with just one bass weighing 3-12. In the second round, he came on strong with four bass totaling 6-10 - good enough to advance to the next round. Skeet Reese finished just out of the cut with 9-2.
Michael Iaconelli, the 2003 Bassmaster Classic champion and top vote-getter in the All-Star balloting, got "the call" a little after 3 p.m. CT today. He and his wife, Becky, are expecting their second child, and she called to tell Ike that she was heading to the hospital in labor. Iaconelli failed to catch a keeper bass during the day and left immediately for the airport, bypassing the weigh-in stage.
Highlights of Toyota Trucks All-Star Week:
Morning Takeoffs: On Saturday and Sunday, the pros will be on Lake Decatur. They’ll launch at 8 a.m. CT from Nelson Park, 2203 E. Lakeshore Drive, Decatur, Ill. Fans are invited to watch the takeoffs.
Weigh-ins: 5-6 p.m. CT, Saturday-Sunday at Nelson Park. There is no admission charge to the takeoffs or weigh-ins.
Bassmaster High School Elite Experience - On Saturday, students in grades 9 through 12 will be offered a behind-the-scenes look at an Elite Series bass tournament. Students can register for the free event that begins at 8:45 a.m. CT by contacting Jon Stewart at email@example.com.
Hope for the Warriors - All-Star pros eliminated on Friday will act as fishing guides and tournament partners Saturday for six service members from Hope for the Warriors, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for post-9/11 service members who have sustained physical and psychological wounds in the line of duty. The event will take place on Clinton Lake Saturday out of Clinton Lake Marina, 6599 Sailboat Road, Weldon, IL 61882. Launch will be at 10 a.m. CT and check-in at 2:30 p.m. CT.
Decatur Lakefest - This four-day live music festival, happening at the same time as All-Star Week, features three stages. Headliners include Bush Hawg, a popular performer at many Elite events, and Dustin Lynch, a Top 12 Country star expected to perform his hit single "Cowboys and Angels." Bush Hawg will perform at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Bassmaster venue in Nelson Park.
College B.A.S.S. Bash - In the spirit of the successful Carhartt Bassmaster College Series, eight teams from Illinois colleges will compete Sunday on Lake Shelbyville in a bragging-rights event. The students will weigh-in at 5 p.m. Sunday on the Bassmaster stage just before the two All-Star finalists appear with their catches. Among the schools fielding teams will be the University of Illinois, Northern Illinois University, North Western Illinois, Eastern Illinois University, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, Illinois State University and Western Illinois University.
Bassmaster Elite Series Expo: Saturday and Sunday in Decatur’s Nelson Park beginning at noon, fishing fans can check out some of the latest in fishing and boating equipment, purchase B.A.S.S. branded merchandise, have fun at official Bassmaster Elite Series sponsor booths, and more. There’s no admission charge.
The local sponsor of Toyota Trucks All-Star Week is the Decatur Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
2012 Bassmaster Elite Series Official Sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, Humminbird, Mercury, MinnKota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha
2012 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: BOOYAH, Carhartt, Lowrance, Luck "E" Strike, Power-Pole, Ramada
2012 Bassmaster Elite Series Proud Partner: Mustang Survival
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